lunes, 12 de julio de 2010

Ted Nugent - Ted Nugent (Remastered)

Genere: Pop/Rock.

Style: Hard Rock, Rock

Similar artists: The Stooges, Thin Lizzy, Free.

Recording year: Epic, 1975.

Remastered: 1999.

Throughout his lengthy career, guitar wildman Ted Nugent has reveled in the controversy and criticism that always seems to follow in his path. While there's no denying his exceptional talent on the six-string, his knack for penning arena rock anthems, or his standing as one of rock's top live acts, it's his nonmusical endeavors that have caused the most condemnation from his detractors (his pro-right wing beliefs, pro-gun advocacy, appreciation of hunting animals, etc.). But by the same token, Nugent is a family man and one of the few hard rockers who has admirably stuck by his lifelong anti-drugs and -drink stance throughout his career.

Born on December 13, 1948, in Detroit, MI, Nugent became interested in rock & roll early in the game, picking up the guitar as a youngster, while his disciplinarian father passed his beliefs down to Nugent. In the '60s, Nugent formed his first bands (including Royal High Boys and Lourdes), drawing inspiration from such British blues-rockers as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. But it wasn't until the formation of the Amboy Dukes that the Nuge got his first taste of stardom (it was also around this time that Nugent began playing a Gibson Byrdland guitar, a model which would be instantly associated with him throughout his career). The other members of the group didn't exactly share Nugent's clean-living lifestyle, as proven by their psychedelic hit single "Journey to the Center of the Mind," which Nugent claimed he didn't know at the time was about being "under the influence." The band managed to issue several albums throughout the late '60s -- 1967's self-titled debut, 1968's Journey to the Center of the Mind, and 1969's Migration -- as the group fit in well with such other high-energy rock bands to emerge from the Motor City: MC5 and the Stooges in particular.

After disintegrating the Amboy Dukes in the early '70s, Ted Nugent finally decided to strike out on his own as a solo star. Even without a recording contract, Nugent toured constantly, built up a fervent following, and created a smoking hard rock quartet with the help of singer/guitarist Derek St. Holmes, bassist Rob Grange, and drummer Cliff Davies. The band's first release, 1975's Ted Nugent, is a prime slice of testosterone-heavy, raging, unapologetic rock & roll, and along with the band's 1977 release Cat Scratch Fever, it is Nugent's best solo studio album. While the grinding opening track, "Stranglehold," stretches beyond eight minutes and contains several extended, fiery-hot guitar leads, it does not come off as your typical '70s overindulgent fare -- every single note counts, as Nugent wails away as if his life depended on it. Other Nuge classics include "Motor City Madhouse," plus the St. Holmes-sung "Hey Baby" and "Just What the Doctor Ordered," all eventually becoming arena staples and making the band one of the late-'70s top concert draws.

Ted Nugent as his best work, and with good reason. It's an essential hard rock classic.


martes, 6 de julio de 2010

PIL - Commercial Zone (Limited Edition)

Genere: Pop/Rock.

Style: Post Punk, Alternative, Noise Rock.

Similar artists: Dif Juz, Joy Division, Virgin Prunes.

Recording year: PIL, 1984.

Public Image Ltd. (PiL) were originally a quartet led by singer John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten, born January 31, 1956) and guitarist Keith Levene, who had been a member of the Clash in one of its early lineups. The band was filled out by bassist Jah Wobble (John Wordle) and drummer Jim Walker. It was formed in the wake of the 1978 breakup of Lydon's former group, the Sex Pistols. For the most part, it devoted itself to droning, slow-tempo, bass-heavy noise rock, overlaid by Lydon's distinctive, vituperative rant. The group's debut single, "Public Image," was more of an uptempo pop/rock song, however, and it hit the U.K. Top Ten upon its release in October 1978. The group itself debuted on Christmas Day, shortly after the release of its first album, Public Image. Neither the single nor the album was released in the U.S.

Commercial Zone was the album Public Image Limited were finishing when Keith Levene left the group. John Lydon's new lineup of PiL later returned to the studio and rerecorded several of the tracks here on This Is What You Want...This Is what You Get, replacing two songs with newer material. Meanwhile, Levene was basically left to press Commercial Zone himself. The two albums are strikingly different. While This Is What You Want is more produced, with eccentric horn arrangements and pseudo-ethnic drumming, Commercial Zone is Spartan by comparison, with more of a focus on straight-forward guitar work than on previous PiL albums. The two songs not available on This Is What You Want, "Bad Night" and "Blue Water," are not of much consequence, while much of the other material here sounds half-realized, especially in the vocal department. Only "The Slab," the original version of "The Order of Death," offers something as musically rewarding as on This Is What You Want. However tempting it is to laud Commercial Zone for Levene's sake, like many lost albums it just doesn't live up to its reputation.


Fields Of Haze

lunes, 5 de julio de 2010

Philip Glass - Low

Genere: Contemporary.

Style: Avant Garde, Chamber Music, Opera.

Similar artists: Alan Raph, Andrew Sterman, Jim Pugh.

Recording year: AMG, 1992.

Philip Glass is generally regarded as one of the most prominent composers associated with the minimalist school, the other major figures being Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and John Adams. His style is quite recognizable, owing to its seeming simplicity of repeated sounds, comprised of evolving patterns of rhythms, which are often quite complex, and rhythmic themes. In some of his early works, like Two Pages (1967), the whole of the piece evolves from a single unit or idea that expands as notes are added. In later works, expansion comes via the lengthening of note values or through other inventive processes. Many describe his music in the minimalist vein as mesmerizing; others hear it as numbingly repetitive and devoid of variety in its simplicity. The latter view of his style is itself simplistic and fails to take into account the many subtleties and complexities found in his methods. Glass' mature style embraces more than just minimalism and thus must be viewed being more eclectic and far less dogmatic.

Philip Glass has insisted that if his music involves a "crossover," it is on the part of the audience, not the composer. It might be more appropriate to say that Glass, particularly with the Low Symphony of 1992, is a composer that spans categories (and audiences) rather than occupying a niche between them. The Low Symphony is a curious treatment of themes from three songs, "Subterraneans," "Some Are," and "Warszawa," from Low, an album released by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977. It seems only appropriate that Glass would make the transition into mainstream pop culture via two other genre-defying artists.

Seminal figures in the progressive rock scene, Bowie and Eno created a sort of pop-experimental, proto-minimalist style that shared certain resonances with "art" music composers of the time. The similarities were not coincidental. In the late 1960s, Eno had been deeply impressed by a performance of Steve Reich's music. Later, when Philip Glass toured England in 1971, Eno and Bowie both attended a concert of his music at the Royal College of Art in London. It is possible, then, that Glass's Low Symphony contains ideas that Bowie/Eno borrowed from his music in the first place.

The Low Symphony might remind the reader of Glass' previous foray into pop music, Songs from Liquid Days of 1986. It exhibits a thoughtfulness and integrity sometimes missing in the earlier pop collaboration -- a collaboration that was initially conceived by record company executives who wanted to recoup some of the losses incurred from the recording of Glass' opera Satyagraha. The Low Symphony is a much more integrated and convincing juncture of styles and genres.

domingo, 4 de julio de 2010

Front 242 - Official Version

Genere: Pop/Rock.

Style: Industrial, Electronic, Alternative.

Similar artists: Front Line Assembly, SPK, Consolidated.

Recording year: Wax Trax, 1987.

One of the most consistent industrial bands of the 1980s, even though they regularly pursued a more electronic variant of the sound that swept into vogue during the '90s, Front 242 were the premier exponent of European electronic body music. Initially, the group was just a duo when formed in October 1981 in Brussels; programmers Patrick Codenys and Dirk Bergen recorded "Principles" and released the single on New Dance Records. A year later, programmer Daniel Bressanutti (aka Daniel B. Prothese) and lead vocalist Jean-Luc de Meyer joined as well; dubbed Front 242 because of the name's universal meaning and united connotations, the quartet debuted in 1982 with the single "U-Men" and album Geography, recorded for Red Rhino Europe Records (RRE).

On this amazing album, Front 242 came into its own, its brutal electrobeat now helping to fully define industrial in the broadest sense of the term. Daniel B and Codenys together whip out a series of chilling but always just danceable enough full body slams, showing an increased depth and sophistication in the overall arrangements, while 23 and de Meyer deliver their shouted and emotionless vocals with the force of full command. When the two share their vocals via traded-off lines or, often, simultaneous singing, the contrast between 23's slightly more breathless and de Meyer's sterner approach increases the overall appeal. The band's ear for vivisection by sampling reaches new heights: endless series of cries, random words, and more are looped and tweaked throughout nearly every song, a good example being the title word on "Aggressiva Due." Meanwhile, the sampled televangelist on "Angst" clearly paves the way for "Welcome to Paradise" a few years in the future. The two peaks of the album are its singles, both of which showcase equally gripping approaches.

Related Posts with Thumbnails